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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
103,923 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid brakes problems

brakes problem

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2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owner Comments

problem #17

Aug 012015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 170,000 miles


My 2008 highlander ABS is failed and that put our family and others in danger because of the ABS is not working properly. The lights keep stayed on doesn't matter what you do, reset it or not. The brakes stopped working, the siren inside the vehicle making buzzy noise when open the door or attempt to start the vehicle. I've done many research online regarding to the Toyota hybrid models and found many disappointed customers reviews, they all point to the ABS platform design flaws by Toyota just like the ABS on Camry hyrids & other hybrids models that has recalled. I took my vehicle to a local Toyota dealer as suggest by Toyota presentative, the same Toyota dealership where I bought my two Camry from; paid $125 to have them checked out my highlander ABS and the results tuned out to be both ABS actuator (47070-48010) and ABS pump (44510-48080) are failed and the costs to have both fix is $5240.46 while the vehicle only worth between $8000-$9000 which is more than half of the vehicle’'s value, for just a few small defective parts made by Toyota, which I do believe that the cost is ridiculously high and because of the manufacture design flaws & not from end users fault. See attached quotes from dealer. I've called Toyota twice to brought to their attention but I got disappointed results instead. Case # 1604020974. Toyota offer us $1000 for repair cost which I denied and asked for a complete free replacement parts. We, Toyota Highlander hybrid owners need to unite and contact Toyota and or smart attorneys to connect all the dots and sue Toyota for the above problems. Our life and others is in danger due to Toyota's defective parts.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #16

Jun 282016

Highlander Hybrid

  • 109,400 miles
Started car in evening and got warning "brake malfunction, check ABS, check vsc system". took car to our mechanic and he found code C1391. Mechanic said part very expensive and recommended contacting Toyota service as cost to repair would probably be similar. Mechanic said he had replaced for another customer (2004 model highlander) who after the repair got notice from Toyota about recall repair last week. Toyota service said cost to repair is $4000! reading on this site I see others with this issue. Definitely needs to be addressed by NHTSA.

- Poway, CA, USA

problem #15

Jun 152016

Highlander Hybrid

  • 119,900 miles
On June 15th, 2016 while over 200 miles from home on a family trip with my pregnant wife and 2 year old son in the car driving down a 2 lane highway with a semi truck behind us at approximately 45 mph constant speed our 2008 Highlander hybrid brakes locked up, a warning tone sounded, several lights lit up on the dash including brakes, ABS, vsc, (((!))), and /!\, and the car stopped completely in the highway with the engine still running. The lcd displayed several alternating messages about the brakes, ABS, and vsc and also about needing to have the vehicle checked by a dealer. As our car was about to be smashed by a semi truck I pressed the gas pedal to the floor. The brakes were completely locked up, but fortunately the car inched forward at less than 5 mph with wide open/full throttle to pull off of the road before the semi truck could hit us from behind. The situation was terrifying. I have taken the vehicle to a dealer. They do not know the reason for the issue. They want $500 to trouble shoot and generate a repair estimate. It sounds like the ABS actuators are commonly $3,000. I have noted many similar problems on the NHTSA website for the 2008 Highlander hybrid and other Toyota hybrid vehicles in which the brakes, ABS, and vsc lights illuminate and braking issues occur.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #14

Apr 022016

Highlander Hybrid

  • 117,000 miles


As I was driving on the freeway a warning alarm came on and on the display screen 3 messages flashed. The first message said, "break malfunction - please pull over safely and contact your service dealer immediately". the second message said, "check vsc" and third said, "check ABS". on top of that all of the warning device lights came on the dashboard. This was alarming and disconcerting. I had to drive about 10 more miles before I could pull over and stop safely. The warning signs have not gone away and I will have to take it to the Toyota service center. I have noticed multiple other complaints regarding the same issue. Seems to happen often with the 2008 model.

- Hermosa Beach, CA, USA

problem #13

Mar 242016

Highlander Hybrid

  • 162,000 miles
Failed ABS actuator system. Brakes do not work. They "grab" and or do not work when you need them. Have to pump many times to stop vehicle.

- Vero Beach, FL, USA

problem #12

Dec 172015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 84,687 miles
At 61.614 miles Nov.9 2013, diagnosed code C1391, abnormal leak in accumulator. Verified by dealer where it was bought. ABS module diagnosed with internal damages. Actuator assy, br, part num. 44050-48320 was replaced under extended warranty, for $3,102.71 plus brake fluid, for $3,118.25 after the system was bled also (see invoice of that date). Problem returned involving same part 44050-48320, plus part num. 47070-48020 pump assy, brake defective at 84,687 miles, just 23,073 miles later, last December 17, 2015; was taken to another dealer, braulio agosto Toyota in rio piedras, puerto rico as reprint shows, from Dec.17 2015 (reprint date was Dec.31 2015). Also included photos showing exact mileage of 84,687 miles, easy to verify with reprint, and warning messages displayed inside the vehicle, same messages appeared last Nov. 9 2013. Vehicle has excellent maintenance at 2 different dealers; I am including related invoices: June 7 2013 at 55,586 miles:1st rear brake pads replacement, turning of rotors performed, 1st problem on Nov. 9 2013 just 5 months 2 days later; pdf invoice Dec.19 2014 at 72,436 miles, when front brake pads were replaced at our request, due to excessive brake pedal travel; Oct/15/15 at 82,379 miles left caliper base was replaced, part 4722-48140; 47717-48150 plate pad support at 83.025 miles on Oct/29/15. Parts prices for same 2nd repair included, local complaint, inspection, result and photos. Unsafe condition evident since Dec.17 2015: Inverted brake pedal pressure when applying the brakes, not shown while driving at speed yet, but unsafe to drive normally because there is no guarantee it will not happen at speed. Local consumer department (daco) has the case for administrative judge evaluation after confirming the problem today, Feb 23 2016 at 3rd dealer with us represented by pablo E. rosado, my brother.see all documents, some in spanish.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #11

Dec 122015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 75,400 miles


I was stationary and parked in a driveway on an uphill slope, but when I started my 2008 Highlander hybrid, it rolled backwards towards the city street even though my foot was still pressed firmly on the brake pedal and I kept pressing as far as it would go. When I eventually lifted my foot off the brake pedal and pressed it again, the car slowed and stopped just as it entered the street. The dashboard warning console indicated ┐brake system failure┐, ┐check vsc┐ and ┐check ABS┐. I made an appointment to get my car checked. This rolling problem happened two more times before the appointment. The service department of my Toyota dealer told me that my brake actuator and brake booster pump required replacement. This cost me $3742 for the brake actuator assembly and $2010 for the brake booster pump assembly.

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #10

Nov 102015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 115,000 miles
While driving ABS, vsc and check engine light illuminated, I continued driving (was 10 miles from home on fwy). Five minutes later I encountered traffic, traveling at 40-50 mph I took foot off gas and began to apply brakes. Brakes immediately seized and the car started to skid. I released the brakes, then tried again, same result. I pulled to side of fwy and stopped. I drove surface streets using the parking brake when I needed to stop, until I got to my house. That evening and the next morning I checked toe cars operation, it didn't matter if I was traveling in fwd or reverse, the brakes immediately grabbed at the slightest application of the pedal. I took the car to a repair shop, he witnessed the same circumstance and did a computer diagnosis, which indicated a new brake actuator unit was needed ($3000). My primary concern (and my mechanic's) was that there was no fail safe, if the unit malfunctioned I would expect the ABS system not to work, not to make the braking system completely inoperable. I narrowly avoided being rear-ended when they malfunctioned on the fwy. I reported the problem to Toyota motor as well (case #1511120583)

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #9

Aug 272015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 119,000 miles
We were driving and the vsc system light, brake malfunction light, and check ABS system lights came on and now we need to repair a $2000 part in our vehicle that many others have had dangerous failure to stop incidents and other problems with. Toyota needs a recall in these ABS accumulator and pump parts.

- Logan, UT, USA

problem #8

May 232015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 134,068 miles
ABS actuator failed and had to be replaced. For the Highlander hybrid, this is a $3000 part. The highlander is built on the Camry platform. Toyota has issued a warranty enhancement program ( ZE1 ) for the ABS actuator on the Camry hybrid years 2007-2011. Toyota motor usa refuses to reimburse anything for the same part on the Highlander hybrid, built on the same platform as the Camry hybrid. Consumer reports, writing about the Camry hybrid ABS actuator, has said that this should be a recall, not a warranty enhancement.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

problem #7

Jun 062015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 112,200 miles


Incident date: 6-6-15. Started vehicle and dash warning lights came on for ABS, vsc and brakes. Also the word, "brake" in red came on. Toyota dealer diagnosed a code 1391 (abnormal leak detected in accumulator) and tested brake system and found ABS actuator/pump internal failure/leak. Dealer replaced ABS actuator, part #44050-48320, and ABS pump assembly, part #47070-48020. Original estimate to repair was $5,388. After complaining to Toyota's national customer care, the bill was reduced to $1,556.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 042015

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
While pulling into a parking lot I heard a loud warning indicator inside the car and immediately noticed that I lost ability to brake. I was only traveling 10 mph or less when this occurred and was able to slowly roll into a parking space. The ABS, vsc, and stability control lights were already on, and had been for months. Fred haas Toyota dealer in houston, tx area recommended having the ABS actuator replaced at a cost of $2700 for the part plus tax and labor. The braking seemed to work fine so I continued to drive the vehicle. This latest incident disabled the brakes almost entirely so I had to address the problem. Now fred haas Toyota says its the brake pump and worn brake pads. These were replaced at over $2600 and the brakes seem to be working as well as before. But of course, all of the warning lights have now turned back on and fred haas still wants to replace the ABS actuator at $2700 plus tax and labor. I see that the world wide web has hundreds of examples of consumers in my predicament and even a few complaints over the years on this site. Can this finally be thoroughly investigated please?

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #5

May 272013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
1-while traveling on an interstate highway, auto engine still running but no power to wheels. Fortunately near a ramp- coasted off ramp and into a parking lot. Message - check braking system- contact dealer. After several tries, re-engaged engine, jabbed brakes repeatedly in between several failures until trouble came clear. Nothing found on examination by dealer. 2- 8/14 check braking system message appeared. Auto would not move although electrical system working. Rocked car repeatedly to try to clear message. Connected emergency battery to battery- system came clear. 3- 11/14 check braking system message appeared. Same as #2. also had check air-bag system message. All three instances occurred on pavement but shortly after being parked on grass. Although the last two were cleared by briefly connecting an emergency battery, availability of headlights indicated car battery had sufficient voltage to operate car's systems.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #4

Oct 132014

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 107,263 miles
Driving at a speed of approximately 40 mph and slowing down for a stop sign. Vsc, ABS, and brake malfunction warning lights came on. Brakes functioned, but dealer said that the accumulator and booster assemblies need to be replaced.

- Temnpe, AZ, USA

problem #3

Jun 032014

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 72,772 miles
Warning lights came on about brakes and instructions to take the car to the dealership. The repair required a replacement of the actuator for anti lock brakes. $3.200..

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #2

Dec 242013

Highlander Hybrid

  • 70,000 miles
After purchasing the car (our first hybrid) we noticed that the brakes were acting different when slowing; while slowing down to stop at a stop light or sign or to slow in traffic, if the car is under 30 mph and hits a bump the brakes will release (while your foot is on the brakes) and the car will lunge forward even though your foot is pressing down and has not been released. This has happened over the past year and no one can seem to figure out the problem. The brakes are new and several forums have been read in regards to trying to figure out the issue. It seems that several hybrids experience the same issues. Braking under 30, the car will hit a bump, brakes will release causing the car to lunge forward and possibly causing an accident. It has happened enough that our family is considering trading in the car. We have almost been in 10 plus accidents because we are almost stopped at the stop sign and the car hits a bump and accelerates into traffic coming from the left/right. With children in the back seat, this is a huge concern. We have sent Toyota an email asking for inspection, however they said they would just like to have our dealer look at it, however they have not been noted of this issue in the past, when clearly there are hundreds of others that are having the same issues and they have been in accidents. I find it very difficult to believe that acceleration/break release when hitting a bump causing the car to lunge forward into moving traffic is a safety concern when the brakes are perfectly good. We will be trading in the vehicle if something is not done about it shortly, not only are we worried about our family but we are also worried about others who could be involved. This issue has nothing to do with the brakes, they are good, and the issue is still re-occurring.

- Edwards, IL, USA

problem #1

Dec 022013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 5 miles
After starting car and putting it in gear, car starts driving even though brake is fully engaged. Warning lights flash on and turn off regarding brake failure but don't stay on long enough to read. The brakes catch after a second or two and operate normally but then will suddenly pause during use - taking a second or two to catch. Checked brake fluid - it is fine. Bringing car to Toyota dealership tomorrow. Have since read blogs/reports from other 2008 Highlander hybrid owners experiencing same unpredictable, instantaneous, momentary brake failure.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

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